Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let's always be fun...

These are the words that Patrick and I toasted to when we got engaged. And we really do try to live by those words. So one of the things I arranged for us to do was to go canyoning and white water rafting at an adventure center about 2 hours from base. It is the place we went for skiing - so we knew the people who worked there and most of them (if not all) spoke English and were just really cool to hang out with.

So Patrick requested the day off on Wednesday, we ditched the kiddos off to some friends, and we headed out for our fun adventure! There was absolutely NO traffic in either direction - which was a huge bonus. It also left us with some wiggle time to hang out and explore before we had to meet up for our canyoning part of the trip. We checked in at the Canyons Outdoor Adventure base and it turned that we were the only 2 people signed up that day!!! It rarely happens that way - but we were thrilled that we were basically getting a private tour! We actually got extra guides since some needed training - so it was a fabulous scenario for us!

It turns out that our canyoning guide was a guy named Grassy from Australia. He is one of the owners of the place and was training 2 others to be canyoning guides. Since canyoning is a lot harder on the body and harder to be a guide - they are short on people who can do it. So we got a special treat by having him guide us.

The Fox Canyon was only a few minutes from the Lodge so we got suited up and headed out. We had to wear thick wet suits, special shoes, gloves, and a helmet for protection! Not the sexiest get-up...but I was glad we had them on! Canyoning is super fun...basically you float down a rapid stream, through some rock formations, over edges and sometimes over waterfalls! You either float on your back (legs out straight and looking up into the sky, feet first) or you go down head first (on your belly, superman style). You bump into rocks a lot - so the guides help warn you when to bend your legs, make a fist, etc. They also let you know slippery areas, holes in the ground, etc. The course we went on had a 60 foot waterfall that we went over, a bridge to jump off of, and other crazy fun stuff! It was dizzying though...since the water was thrusting you in certain directions, you were trying to swim in others, and you were falling in others. Luckily I had taken a dramamine beforehand - or I may have gotten a little motion sick. But I didn't! Just a bit dizzy....and majorly exhausted!!!

After the big waterfall (which Patrick basically slid down the whole thing while I was lowered part of the way and then dropped) there was a bridge overhead (about 40+ feet high) which you could rock climb up to and jump off of into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. You had to be careful though because there were rocks just below the bridge - so you had to propel yourself outwards first and then fall. Patrick climbed up first and then the guide helped me climb...but once I got close to the top I freaked out (I do NOT like heights) and asked him to lower me back down. I am sure glad I did because I never would have jumped! But Patrick did and I cheered him on :-) After the guide had Patrick go...he walked around to the top of a 100+ foot cliff and jumped off like a crazy man! None of the other guides have ever tried it because it is pretty insane since you are jumping into the waterfall pool, there are jagged rocks, etc. But he did it and was fine!

We went down some more straight-aways, more slides, more falls and came to another pretty high one. This one we did 3 times...once feet first, once head first and once jumping off. I actually loved the head first with a flip! I did not like jumping!!! But it was fun overall! The very last fall we went over, we had to go head first - but on our we were blind going into it! That was also fun! Once we were there we could keep climbing back up and jumping in. Patrick did back dives, flips, etc. It took me about 5 minutes just to do a regular jump...but then I realized it wasn't that bad! But by that time I was truly exhausted so we just went back to base for lunch.

If you ask Patrick what his favorite part of the day was - he would say lunch! It was Oishii (Japanese word for delicious). There was a buffet of handmade foods - ranging from Japanese curry, Gnocchi (which were the BEST gnocchi I have ever had), a lasagna type thing (but made with rice instead of noodles), soup, salad, etc. I think he had thirds of everything - and could have had more! After lunch we geared up and headed to the river for white water rafting.

This was actually a nice break since the flow was pretty strong and carried us most of the way with little paddling needed. They had some pretty good rapid sections and our guide, Rowan, would paddle us back into the bottom of the rapids for some 'surfing'. But we really just enjoyed the beauty of the nature out there. Much different from the city and areas we live in! It was a little sad to see the abandoned hotels (built during the tourism bubble and went bankrupt and literally just left everything there and went away). It is such an amazing area - I truly hope that it can rebuild soon.

Once we were done, we went back to base, got dressed and headed home. Again, no traffic so we were home before dinner! I slept the entire way :-) We were so excited to show the kids what we did (we got a cd with all the pics and videos on it) and now they want to go! Maybe we will take Gavin soon (you have to be 6 y/o)...but we know we will definitely go back! I posted some pics here - and I will try to add video later!